Charlestown Township
Acting Environmental Advisory Council (EAC)
Great Valley High School Library
Minutes of Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Minutes were recorded for the meeting on November 14, 2018 at the Great Valley High School Library, 225 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA 19355. Meeting was held from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Attendees were Pete Goodman, Carol Armstrong, Richard Findlay, Veda Maany, Daniel Walker, and Greg Nesspor, and Kevin Kuhns (BoS). Our guest was Vicki Laubach from Green Valleys Watershed Association

The meeting was called to order at 6:05 pm with Pete Goodman as the Chair.
Minutes from previous meeting were approved by all board members.

Pete Goodman opened the meeting introducing our guest Vicki, who has considerable experience with Riparian buffer grants, and started the discussion regarding plans for the riparian buffer for Pigeon Run on Brightside Farm. Brightside Farm was created by a grant from Chester County, and has been designated a park first then secondarily as a farm. Pete and Carol had toured the property with Alix Coleman, the Brightside Farm Manager to assess the landscape and get a sense of what installing a riparian buffer would entail. The fields on the property are primarily used for hay production, and there is a concern about losing acreage to the buffer zone. There are also other factors to consider- silt socks, stormwater standpipes, the springhouse. Also, there are parts along the tributary that vary in the topography with areas of wetlands. The tributary does have consistent measurable water along a considerable length, and our plantings would take into consideration minimizing impact on the current hay production while protecting the stream against run-off. We concluded that there are lots of buffer options, i.e. a meadow buffer, shrub barrier around the wetland’s parts. The ultimate goal is to avoid mowing down around the riparian buffer.

Maintenance is also another issue to consider. For instance, the grass would need to be cut down around the trees as we want to avoid chemicals. We could develop a crew of volunteers to maintain it. We are also close to corporate centers that are looking to sponsor similar projects. We can also build cost of maintenance into the grant as “post planting establishment”.

We concluded that we could focus on one area to start the initiation phase. Generally, it is recommended to plant 125 to 200 trees per acre. We have to identify what species we want and what quantities. Consider moist areas for mapping and sun exposure. Are there bog turtles to account for (they are a protected species)? Also consider soil sampling.

With regard to grant writing, there are available grants for instance “Tree Vitalize” and William Penn. What information do we need for the grant? Do we need to specify what species or just be general? There is a time frame for grant application- applications will be open for 2019. We would also need the Board of Supervisors signature for the grant. We should also reach out to Parks and Rec for grant writing.

Next step as suggested by Vicki is to invite a consultant from Crow and Berry for specific riparian buffer planning and then bring those plans to the board.

Armstrong & Findlay introduced the topic of the current standing of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This fund receives money from federal government derived from gas and oil royalties. The money is then distributed to the states which trickles down to the county and townships level where it has been used preserve land and to create parks. The funding’s bill has expired and the refunding bills are stuck in committee as there is some disagreement over the bill’s different iterations. Various conservation organizations have asked for support of the legislation. Specifically, the EAC is asking the BoS and Parks & Rec to write a letter to senators and representatives to keep the Conservation Fund by supporting passage of the Bill. We as the EAC would like it permanently authorized, and will draft a letter for BoS and Parks & Rec to review and sign. Richard has offered to revise Carol’s initial draft and will distribute to EAC members for review.

Goodman gave updates on the Adelphia Gateway Project pipeline. He is confident that the valves have been omitted from the project. There is an Adelphia meeting to discuss safety- Nov 27th is the date for Chester County at the Westtown Township Bldg. from 7 to 8:15 pm held by the Pipeline Safety Coalition. There is still the question of the integrity of the pipes and design life.

Armstrong & Walker provided an update on education on single use plastics. They had met with owners of the Office Bar & Grill and discussed some of their challenges and recent efforts. They have been trying to reduce plastic bags with paper bags for large orders. They are looking into cardboard straws that are wrapped for sterility. They do currently recycle cooking oil and cardboard. They have found that to replace their products with more sustainable items it is 2-3 x times the cost of current plastic. This increase in cost would be reflected in increased food charges which they are hesitant to apply. Carol also visited with Dunkin Donuts, and they report they are trying to get away from Styrofoam. We are entertaining the idea of an “award” to post on the business door that would be a statement of their efforts towards environmental sustainability- for instance- “Charlestown friendly business”. We could propose this to the BoS.

Goodman and Walker provided updates on the turnpike sound walls initiative. They have contracted with a lawyer (from same firm of Dave Moskowitz— lawyer who represented Tredyffrin’s sound wall initiative) and have together met with Senator Dinniman, who has offered to endorse and forward a letter of support to the turnpike commissioners. We are working on a map where to put the sound walls. There has been 20% increase in traffic since 2012 and the speed has also increased. The rumble strips also contribute to the noise. Jake brakes also make noise. Tredyffrin’s citizen’s group had property assessments done along the turnpike and had found that unprotected properties resulted in a 20% decrease in property values. We will also be doing property appraisals as well. The BoS has offered $25,000 towards this project for 2019. We had a discussion with Kevin Kuhn regarding how the finances should be managedas a nonprofit under the EAC or should this be considered a township expense? There are 500 individual residents affected. Also, some empty lots to be developed. The plans are in review with turnpike commission. Should the BoS just meet directly with lawyer from here? Kevin Kuhn suggested redirecting future meetings with the lawyer to township at this point.

Resident Environmental Education Series. We discussed potential locations – The Grange, the middle school Rm 154, Methodist church. Armstrong and Maany will look into these locations.

Other Topics

When is next deadline for newsletter? We will ask Linda. “The 15th of the first month of the quarter thus 1/15 4/15 7/15 10/15.”

Confirmation of EAC initiated projects:

We discussed our 2019 budget and funds allocated by BoS- $1,000 for 2019. Findlay has offered to draft suggestions on how to allocate.

For our Next Meeting:

Meeting was adjourned at 8 pm.